Will Stein

10 Easy Steps to Painting a Room Like a Pro

Painting is a popular project in many homes for beginners and veteran DIY’ers. It can be expensive to hire someone so you decide to take the task on yourself. Before you grab the roller and brush, below are 10 easy steps to get you painting like a pro!

  1. HAVE A PLAN: Start by visualizing what it is you want the finished product to look like. Look at paint samples, textures and styles. Remember, you don’t have to paint all the walls the same color. You have options such as accent walls, highlighting moldings, and painting the ceiling for a touch up.
  2. CHOOSE YOUR COLOR: Browsing through paint chips can be overwhelming. You should begin with a general color scheme you like. Would you like warm or cool shades, neutral or bright neon colors? Do you have art or furniture in the room that needs to be considered? Once you get a sense of what you want, pick a few colors and purchase samples. You can test the shades on the wall to see how they look at different times of the day.
  3. PICK YOUR TOOLS: Each project is unique and may require different tools depending on the condition of your walls and the paint you choose. Here are the necessary tools to get you started.
    • Painters tape
    • Paint
    • Sandpaper
    • Drop cloths
    • Rags
    • Paint roller
    • PuttyKnife
    • Paint roller extension pole
    • Paint tray
    • Paintbrushes
  4. HOW MUCH PAINT DO YOU NEED?: The general rule of thumb for painting is – 1 gallon per 400sqft. For larger projects, there are paint calculators like these from Benjamin Moore and Pratt & Lambert and they even factor in windows and doors (both make the assumption you are using 2 coats of paint). If you are going from a darker color to a lighter color, take into account that you will need a little extra to cover, and primer. ALso, painting a textured surface or even cabinets could require a little extra as well.
  5. PREP THE WALLS & ROOM: First thing on the list is to cover and move the furniture out or to the center of the room. Cover the furniture and floor with drop cloths to prevent paint splatter. Next, painters tape. Firmly apply the tape to window casings, moldings, edges of the corners and anything else you do not want to get paint on. Use a putty knife to get a tight grip if needed). Remove outlet covers and light switches and cover with painters tape to protect them from paint drips.
  6. MIX THE PAINT: Most, if not all hardware or paint stores sell or will give you a paint stick to mix the paint. You should restir often throughout the process as well.
  7. WHAT”S YOUR TECHNIQUE?: Now that you are ready to paint, make sure you have a strategy. Start from the top of the top of the room down, beginning with the ceiling. If you’re planning an accent job, paint the lighter walls first and when dry, tape off the edge so the darker paint doesn’t get on the lighter. If you’re covering up dark walls, plan on 3 coats of paint, primer plus 2 coats to make sure nothing bleeds through. Tackle one wall at a time . First start with the trim and corners from top to bottom. When applying the paint with a roller, long strokes in a “W” pattern to cover maximum space and avoid roll marks. Once it is dry to touch, it’s ready for the second coat. If you are painting the trim, wait until the walls are dry to place the tape and again, start from the top and work your way down.
  8. VENTILATION: Open windows and doors or use fans while painting to avoid strong fumes. Keeping the room warm and a fan blowing will speed along the process.
  9. CLEANING UP: Now that the painting is completed, it’s time to clean up. Remove all the painters tape and drop cloths making sure any spills or splatter is dry. When working with Latex and water based paint, rinse and clean brushes with soap and water. If using an oil based paint, you will need mineral spirits.
  10. GIVE ENOUGH TIME: The time it takes to finish your project depends on your skill level, the size of your project and how you are painting. While some spaces can be done in a few hours, some may take days. Don’t forget to figure in preparation and clean up.

Now that you have a plan, get prepared and get creative!


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